Paul Olefsky



Competition Winner

Born: January 4, 1926 (Chicago, IL)

Died: June 1, 2013 (Austin, TX)

Cellist Paul Olefsky was a graduate of the Curtis Institute where he earned a bachelor of music degree studying with Gregor Piatigorsky, Daniel Saidenberg and chamber music with William Primrose. Subsequent cello studies were with Pablo Casals and conducting with Herbert von Karajan and Pierre Monteux.

In 1947, his graduation year, he was accepted into the Philadelphia Orchestra under Eugene Ormandy becoming the orchestra's youngest ever principal cellist. In 1950, he performed the world premiere of the Virgil Thomson Cello Concerto. He performed on concert stages worldwide and gave the first US performances of works by Kodaly, Lutoslawski, Henze and Ginastera.

In 1948, he was named a winner in the Walter W. Naumburg competition.

Olefsky left his position at the Philadelphia Orchestra to join the US Navy during the Korean War. In 1953, during his Navy Service, he was awarded the Michaels Memorial Award competition in Chicago. Upon completing his military service, Olefsky became principal cellist of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

His recordings include the complete sonatas for cello and piano of Beethoven and Brahms.

He taught at the Peabody Institute (1963-68) and Hartt School (1968-74). In 1974, he joined the faculty as a professor of cello and chamber music at the University of Texas in Austin where he taught for several decades and was a professor emeritus at the time of his death. In 1987, he oganized the first Feuermann International Cello Competition at the University of Texas in Austin.


1948 Naumburg Competition

First Prize

Commissioned Works

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Naumburg Performances

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Recording Awards

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